On Oct.15th, We had a fascinating conversation with Mr.Heslin Kim ,the Head of Business Development at Tokeny,talking about his leadership experience on business development, sales, and account management operations for both global and regional partnerships in Blockchain industrial giants.
Innoverview: How would you describe yourself in three words? What’s your motto?
Heslin: Let’s keep this short and sweet. If I described myself in three words I would say: open-minded, diligent, and extroverted. My life motto is, “happiness held is the seed, happiness shared is the flower.”
Innoverview: Can you please share more about your educational and professional background? And we’d love to hear what brought you to Blockchain.
Heslin: I started studying with a double major in international business and marketing at the University of Georgia. I later transitioned into a double major of cultural anthropology and religion to follow pursuits I was more interested in, and I am both lucky and happy to have gained the knowledge in multiple fields which has helped me grow both as a person and professionally.
I have been in multiple industry roles ranging from network marketing to business development strategy across Asia. Operationally I have helped scale and accelerate several blockchain businesses across 10+ countries in the Asia Pacific region including: Polymath and Xtock. In my current capacity, I lead business development, sales, and account management operations for both global and regional partnerships based in Korea, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Taiwan for Tokeny Solutions.
Blockchain has been lingering in the shadows around my life over the last decade. I was made aware of Bitcoin in early 2012 as several of my friends were proponents at the time. I remember asking them at one point, “Where can I buy a Bitcoin? Do they sell them on eBay or online?” The idea was still beyond me at that time and the concept did not seem to me to be one that would gain traction. Whoops. I would have easily passed up on the idea of Twitter as well, but look where we are today.
Having started within the blockchain sector in early 2017, I was able to see the rise and fall of the cryptocurrency scene. Overall, this industry still compels me to pe deeper into the work I am doing. I love that it is 24/7 and global. I love the opportunities I have been given to travel and speak while building the companies I am working for. In line with what I have enjoyed so much to date, Tokeny and I have recently joined forces, and I could not be more excited to support and grow a company with such a strong vision and legacy.
I think it is important to note that while Bitcoin brought blockchain to the mainstream the concept of DLT applies across many variants of the technology. I have spoken about this for many times, but I feel there is a stark contrast between the cryptocurrency industry and the security token/digital securities space. Both utilize blockchain technology, however the overall narrative, players involved, and end goal fall very differently.
Innoverview: As we all know, South Korea surges ahead in the blockchain market as four major banks form ‘Technology-Service Alliance’. How will that affect other countries to make a move in terms of regulating the cryptocurrency space?
Heslin: I believe that regulation in one jurisdiction is a benchmark for others. Having Korea move forward with their sandbox in Busan is a tremendous leap forward and will help assist South East Asian countries with an exemplary model to follow. It is useful to have progressive countries who are willing to test and adopt new technologies. Overall, I am doubtful this will have much of an impact on the US and Europe, but it will certainly impact decisions made by other countries across the ASEAN landscape.
Innoverview: Blockchain technology is disrupting numerous industries, and social media is one that is likely to feel the ramifications of blockchain disruption first. As the Founder & CEO of crypto media Blockchain ROK since 2017, how do you think of the relationship between Blockchain and social media? What kind of effective strategies will promise the highest success for crypto media?
Heslin: There are several interesting outlets I use to stay up to date, and I’m happy to see some others gaining traction like TheBlock. Coindesk and CoinTelegraph have such dominance, and it was a shame to see CCN go down after the interesting alterations to Google’s SEO display. CNBC CryptoTrader is a great example of mass media pushing the narrative of Bitcoin, which only helps for further adoption. I am all for new approaches to educate and inform the general market.
Innoverview: We’ve noticed that you are the prior VP of BD at Polymath and engaged in security token which is a blockchain-based “share” of an underlying asset, such as a company, real estate, or gold, what are the pros & cons of security tokens from your perspective?
Heslin: This is correct and I am now happily working with Tokeny Solutions as of September 2019. Tokeny is a toolbox for investment marketplaces and we provide the layer of technology needed for these players to benefit from working with blockchain. Benefits such as automation, efficiency, increase in the speed of transfer times and so on, can be achieved by these companies without building the complex technology that’s required. These markets are also lacking from digitization, and we provide them with the tools to enable and benefit from digitizing their services. Although we are working with a number of them, there is still a huge need for digital distributors of tokenized securities.
There are benefits that exist now, and there are benefits that are highly speculative promises. The most immediate benefit of tokenizing securities is with compliance and transparency. The question about cost reduction should be addressed directly as well. Cost reduction does not occur dramatically for the issuer as legal fees for PPMs, tax advisory, KYC/AML checks, brokerage fees are all largely in line with traditional systems. Cost reduction of STOs comes in from programmable corporate actions, the immediacy of transfers, and the opportunity cost of being able to rely on smart contracts to enforce governance and automated compliance.
Innoverview: Operationally you have helped scale and accelerate previous blockchain businesses across 10+ countries in the Asia Pacific region, how do you foresee the trends of Blockchain technology for the next five years?
Heslin: In five years time I see interoperable assets having opened a lot of opportunities and benefits. The technology will be in place to reduce the successive layers of reconciliation that are currently present in custody chains, the benefits in collateralization will be realized and the impact in terms of transferability will be present. All in all, I think there will be a much greater awareness of blockchain and its impact on financial markets. If you look at the sentiment this time last year, the attitude has changed significantly. In five years it is of course hard to predict, and easy to be over optimistic, but I think there will be wider recognition of blockchain’s impact because there will be working examples across capital markets. We can also imagine some projects like Libra bringing a lot of awareness if people start managing some of their money and assets on this blockchain.
Innoverview: These days, Facebook's Libra suffers blow as MasterCard, Visa, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member. And in a comment to TechCrunch, a Stripe spokesperson leaves the door open for them to potentially work with Libra in the future — but not right now. How do you think the future of Libra? What impact will Libra have on the global cryptocurrency market?
Heslin: Facebook’s interest in the blockchain space was a huge indicator for the public that this technology has merit. The fact that they have also announced an STO is tremendous for the education and spread of general awareness. It will certainly be a catalyst for other major players to begin R&D; and executing proof of concepts within the tokenized securities space.
Innoverview: We’ve noticed that you are one of the famous speakers in global Blockchain conferences, what’s your benchmark to select the top-tier industrial conferences?
Heslin: That’s an interesting question. The purpose of attending these events is both from a networking perspective as well as for marketing. The selection choice for speaking at conferences these days revolves around choosing a target audience for our message so that we can educate and work with the players we are most interested in partnering with. For instance, I recently spoke at the ASIFMA (Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association) Annual Conference 2019 in Tokyo, Japan that had attendees from reputable FIs such as Mizuho, Societe Generale, DTCC, J.P. Morgan, and more. Tokeny Solutions is now targeting fintech and finance conferences globally and is not specifically targeting blockchain conferences. Although, I am still happy to support the blockchain industry and recently attended DevCon5 in Osaka.